The Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals officially kicked off the NFL (pre)season on Thursday night with Dallas 20-18 victory over Arizona in the Hall of Fame Game, a surprisingly entertaining affair that taught us a lot about some players on each team. Budda Baker is going to be fun, Rico Gathers might be suave, etc. Jared Dubin broke it all down very well here.

Now we turn our eyes to the actual Hall of Fame, with the induction for a group headlined by a pair of unforgettable running backs set to take place Saturday night. You can follow all the action in our live blog.

How to watch

  • What: 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
  • When: Saturday, Aug. 5, 7 p.m. ET
  • Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
  • TV: NFL Network (MC Rich Eisen)
  • Online: Now 

The inductees

This is a pretty remarkable group all told. 

Kurt Warner was considered a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, but he eventually got in (he basically had to wait for Brett Favre to get in first) just like he should have. Warner is an NFL fable, the guy who gave up on his dream and was bagging groceries before an injury gave way to him taking over the Greatest Show on Turf, where he became regular season MVP and won a Super Bowl (and Super Bowl MVP) with the Rams. He also took the freaking Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl. 

LaDainian Tomlinson is a no-brainer, first-ballot Hall of Famer. He had a nose for the end zone like few other running backs ever have. 

Terrell Davis is a classic case of someone who peaked at an incredible level but didn't sustain his brilliance over a long period of time. But man, when he was great, he was great. Davis threw the Broncos on his back and helped Mike Shanahan and John Elway win a pair of Super Bowls. 

Jerry Jones is fascinating because you almost feel like he believes he's going into the Hall as the GM who won three Super Bowls, but Jones' real legacy is as an owner, a guy who helped to make an NFL team worth billions of dollars and who has been the puppetmaster in moving teams around the country when it comes to the Rams and Chargers in Los Angeles and the Raiders in Las Vegas. 

Jason Taylor is the all-time leader in fumble recoveries and a former Defensive Player of the Year, a guy who played really well for a really long time. Tom Brady wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame endorsing Taylor's candidacy. What more do you need?

Morten Andersen hammered home kick after kick after kick after kick en route to setting the NFL's all-time scoring record. He also pointed out on Thursday night that he's a football version of the American dream because he immigrated and became a Hall of Fame player. Cool stuff.

Kenny Easley was a five-time All-Pro player who led the Seahawks in interceptions four different times. He was named to the All-Decade team for the 1980s as well. 

The speeches

Some of these speeches have the potential to be pretty fantastic or even go off the rails. As mentioned, Andersen talked about his American Dream and he could potentially get political during his speech.

Jones promised a 60-minute speech (!) during his interview with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on Thursday night. There is zero chance he will get through it without trying to humblebrag about his three Super Bowls and landing Dak Prescott. There may be shots at Jimmy Johnson, who is going to do the introduction for ... Jason Taylor. 

Looking ahead

Colleague John Breech did a great job looking ahead to the Class of 2018. And he has a good prediction too: Terrell Owens will get in. Owens needs to get in. He was a pain off the field and in the locker room, and voters don't want to reward him, but he was a Hall of Fame-caliber receiver for a long time. Him not being in Canton is asinine. 

Ray Lewis is a stone-cold lock to get in on the first ballot. Off the field stuff doesn't matter ... unless you're Terrell Owens. Breech thinks Randy Moss is a "just miss" for 2018, which is stunning to me. Moss I think will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, regardless of what Bill Polian thinks.

Breech also bets that John Lynch, Don Coryell and Alan Faneca will join the gold-jacketed ranks in 2018.

While I don't think Tony Boselli or Torry Holt will get in next year, they are both guys who deserve greater consideration in a year where there are some openings based on first-time eligibles for guys to slide in and secure a position.